Figure Name sententia
Source Silva Rhetoricae (;; Garret Epp (1994) ("sententia," "gnome"); Ad Herennium 4.17.24; Putt. (1589) 243 ("sententia," "the sage sayer"); Day 1599 99; Vinsauf (1967) ("sententia"); Peacham 1593
Earliest Source None
Synonyms the sage sayer, gnome
Etymology L. “judgment, maxim”
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. A figure that summarizes preceding material. One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, maxim, paroemia, and proverb. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Figure of argument in which a wise, witty, or pithy maxim or aphorism is used to sum up the preceding material. (American Rhetoric)

3. A maxim or general observation showing what does or should happen in life. (Garrett Epp)

4. If a mode of expression both easy and adorned is desired, set aside all the techniques of the dignified style and have recourse to means that are simple, but of a simplicity that does not shock the ear by its rudeness. Here are the rhetorical colours with which to adorn your style: (Vinsauf)

5. Gnome, otherwise called Sententia, is a saying pertaining to the maners and common practises of men, which declareth by an apt brevitie, what in this our life ought to be done, or left undone. First it is to to observed, that everie sentence is not a figure, but that onely which is notable, worthie of memory, and approved by the judgement and consent of all men, which being such a one, maketh by the excellency therof the Oration not onely beautifull and comely, but also grave, puissant, and full of majestie, whereof there be sundry kindes. (Peacham)


2. I think that if women aspired higher, took on the problems involved, that they might find surprising support from men. 'Time marches on.'
-- Betty Friedan, Do we dare not Discriminate? (American Rhetoric)

2. The lesson we have to learn is that our dislike for certain persons does not give us any right to injure our fellow creatures. The social rule must be: 'Live and let live.'
-- George Bernard Shaw (American Rhetoric)

3. The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.... (PF 1 qtd. in Garret Epp)

3. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement. (Hamlet 1.3 in Garret Epp)

4. He is free who is not a slave to vice. (Vinsauf)

5. The first a Sentence universall, which conteineth no certaine person or thing: As evill gotten goods are evill spent: evill will never said well: envy is a punishment in it selfe. (Peacham)

5. The second is a single sentence, as, a Citie in sedition cannot be safe, the contented man is verie rich, neccessitie hath no law. (Peacham)

5. The third is a double sentence: Flattery getteth friendship, and truth hatred: And old sore is soone hurt, and a testie man soone angrie. (Peacham)

Kind Of
Part Of
Related Figures adage, apothegm, gnome, maxim, paroemia, proverb
Notes Unsure of 'linguistic domain' and 'type of' Added number 2 in definition and examples for American Rhetoric -nayoung
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ashley Rose Kelly
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes agree with LD
Reviewed No